Last night, I attended the 12th annual Lent Upson Lecture presented by Wayne State University’s MPA Program. This year’s speaker, Lou Glazer, President of Michigan Future, Inc. facilitated a discussion about how human capital is becoming increasingly concentrated in big metropolitan areas with vibrant central cities, and what Detroit and Michigan must do to remain competitive in this environment.
Clearly state economies are driven by its municipalities, most notably, those that are located within big metropolitan areas. As Mr. Glazer’s mapping clearly illustrated, this is where you will find your concentrations of talented red dots and blue dots ;)
This got me thinking, what economic development ideas can a local government foster to help provide the atmosphere for young knowledge based talent?
The Incubation Zone
City zoning ordinances typiclally regulate land use, business development, and population density by defining the nature of development areas as industrial, downtown, residential, or manufacturing zones. What about creating an incubation zone. Local government’s could create a venture capital fund to make available microgrants to incentivize and seed these start ups and incubate their ideas. A great example of this type of company is Livio Connect in Ferndale, Michigan.